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Equestrians saddle up

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Senior Co-Captain Haley Condon demonstrates her riding ability. Each rider is assigned to a horse only moments before they are asked to demonstrate their skills. Photo By Linnea Ritchie

Augustana’s Equestrian team may be one of the smallest schools at Equestrian competitions, but they are the team with the most spirit.  The tight-knit team is very close, and supports each other when anyone is riding.

“We’re always the loudest people cheering each other on, even though we’re one of the smallest schools out there,” said senior Katie Pittman.

Many of the girls have been riding from a very young age and are very passionate about the sport.  Junior Felicia Datollo has been riding for more than 13 years.

“I ride everyday,” said Datollo.  “If I go one day without riding I start to get antsy.”

At competition’s Augustana’s equestrian team prides itself on representing Augustana through their jumping, trotting, and cantering skills, while showing their team spirit.

“It’s nice to represent a school that is not very well known,” said Junior Kelsey Cuff.  “At some shows we go against big schools such as University of Madison, Notre Dame and Iowa State.”

Going in with a positive mind, and the ability to be well rounded as possible is always the goal for Augustana College’s Equestrian Team.  Augustana’s Equestrian is in the process of training for their upcoming shows of the season.

The team has been around for eight years, and has been coached by Julie Mann for the past seven years.

Mann enjoys coaching the equestrian team at Augustana because she gets to see the girls on the team try new horses, and adapt to how they ride on it in competition.

“The difference with this is they don’t ride horses they know so they have to get out and ride and show that they can ride without getting the opportunity to even know the horse,” said Mann.  “They get on and go and show what they got in that two minutes, which makes it nice to see them ride different horses.

A name is drawn out of a hat, which determines the horse you ride.  After you need to determine to ride the horse, will you need to be a strong rider, or if you need to ride a particular way to control the horse.

There is also not an opportunity to ride the horse prior to the competition.  The only thing riders can do is watch the horse to determine how it rides, and what strategies you need to have during your two minutes in the ring.

The passion and positive attitude of the equestrian team, allows the team to become better throughout each practice and competition.  The teammates encourage each other and point out each other’s strengths.

“Good job, keep going,” yelled Pittman.  “That was a great ride!”

“The best part about the team is that anyone has the opportunity to compete,” said Pittman.  “You can be someone who has been riding for years, or someone who is riding for the first time.”

Augustana College’s Equestrian team allows anyone who has an interest in riding to join the team.  The equestrian team’s ability to work together and encourage one another allows them to go into each competition with a positive attitude.

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